Councillor Martin McRandal and I have welcomed planned upgrades at Cairn Wood Forest in Craigantlet whilst appealing for patience with car park to remain closed in order to enable the works to occur.
Ards and North Down Borough Council have been awarded funding from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. The first phase involves extension of the Car Park and new toilet facility. The second phase involves improvements to the walking trails. The walki
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ng trails will be made more suitable for family / casual cycling rather than mountain biking in light of consultation responses received by Council. A trail designer has been commissioned to develop detailed plans.
Works were due to commence in March 2020 but were put on hold due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Works will start on 15 June and complete in October 2020. Both the car park and woodland will be closed for this period.
After leading a concerted and successful campaign involving nearly 3,000 people signing a Petition to Save Cairn Wood I'm delighted to see works soon due to commence to upgrade parts of the very popular Forest. With Cairn Wood now firmly in public hands, fully owned by the Forest Service by managed by the Council a long term future can be developed in sympathy to current scenic surroundings and liaison with key users who were critical in efforts to stop sale of the Forest to the highest bidder.
I will be engaging with Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in due course to ensure funding flows to enable the Council to progress plans previously developed and consulted upon.
Councillor Martin McRandal stated "This is exciting news. The works will include extension of the trail network within the woodland, extension of the car park and new WC facilities.
The works are due to begin 15th June, with plans to reopen Cairn Wood in October. Unfortunately whilst the works are ongoing both the car park and the woodland will be closed to the public. We appeal to everyone for patience. Please do not travel to Cairn Wood whilst it is closed. Vehicles cannot safely park on the B170 Craigantlet Road."